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No longer a Lame Duckworth . . . .

No future, no future for you. . .

Not that any Houston fan could have really thought that the man still had a future in the Astros organization, but for those who hadn't seen the writing on the wall, or didn't catch the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's announcement, I present the news that Brandon Duckworth signed a minor league contract with the Pirates on Thursday.

At one point considered the key to the Billy Wagner deal, Duckworth can tell new boss Jim Tracy that he was 1 - 3 with an 8.08 during his 2-year tenure with the Astros.  After being acquired from the Phillies in November of '03, Duckworth began his Astro career by giving up a run in one inning of work, and at no point carried a major league ERA under 6.75 while with the Houston organization.  

His best outing for the 'Stros was likely April 12, 2004 against the Cardinals, when in relief of Jared Fernandez--who'd started and gone all of 1/3 of an inning--Duckworth went 4-2/3, striking out a man,  while giving up two walks and a lone run.  That lowered his ERA from 9.00 to the magical six-75, but it was all downhill from there.

Brandon will probably stay true to his frustrating form by having a successful spring, but with Zach Duke, Oliver Perez, and Paul Maholm all actually fairly talented, and with Kip Wells a fixture on the Buc's staff, and good for a couple victories over the 'Stros at the very least, Duckworth will almost certainly start 2006 at AAA Indianapolis.

And if he doesn't pitch well there, well, it's gonna be the independent leagues for Brandon, you can be sure.  Mr. Duckworth will assuredly be receiving no further extended auditions such as the Astros gave him.

Not sure how so many people could have been wrong on this guy, but there you go. .  . . Sometimes your scouting picks up a Roy Oswalt, sometimes they get a Brandon Duckworth.